The First Nations Tax Commission submitted its Pre-Budget Submission for the 2017 federal budget. In its submission, FNTC advocates in support of four key initiatives to develop a new fiscal relationship for First Nations.
A new revenue based fiscal relationship should provide First Nations with the following: (a) secure long-term revenues to support long-term budget planning; (b) new tax jurisdictions and revenue options that can be used to assume full responsibility for specific programs; (c) a reduction in the administrative demands that the current relationship places on First Nations; and, (d) an economic stake for First Nations in the success of their regional economies.
The FNTC has long advocated the current fiscal relationship is unworkable if lasting and sustainable improvements in First Nations economies, services and infrastructure are to be made.
The FNTC also believes a new revenue-based fiscal relationship is needed to improve the investment climate for resource projects all across Canada and to prevent distortions in the Canadian tax system.
The FNTC is advocating four initiatives to support this agenda:
Tax Based Fiscal Relationship:
Paving the Way to Equality
The federal government should commit to developing an option whereby First Nations can use new tax revenues to assume full decision making authority and responsibility for the delivery of specific services. These revenues would then be exempted from the application of any further transfer offsets, such as those envisioned by the proposed federal Own-Source Revenue (OSR) policy. The federal government would no longer set conditions or reporting requirements with respect to the assumed responsibilities; these could be established through the First Nations Fiscal Management Act (FMA).
First Nations Infrastructure:
Improving Quality of Life on Reserves
The federal government should provide First Nations with the option of assuming full responsibility for the provision of infrastructure on their lands. This should be supported by an institution that would work with First Nations in developing their ability to plan, finance, build, maintain and operate infrastructure.
Aboriginal Resource Tax:
Providing Power and Protection
The federal government should help ensure that First Nation governments can more easily receive reliable revenues that are generated from new resource projects taking place on their traditional territories.
Indigenous Land Title:
Creating Opportunities for Wealth and Prosperity
The First Nation led Indigenous Land Title Initiative (ILTI) will restore land ownership, giving First Nations title to their lands, the authority to maintain governance and the power to make laws related to the use of the land. The FNTC has been working with the federal government to develop a legislative option to accomplish this goal. The federal government should work with these proponent First Nations and the FNTC to advance the proposed legislation to parliament.